27 Jul 2016
By Wright Communications
As part of Coeliac Awareness Week in May, Coeliac New Zealand launched the pilot for a new, accredited 'Dining Out Programme' which means that the 65,000 Kiwis who suffer from coeliac disease will soon be able enjoy a more inclusive social life and eat out safely.
Ballantynes Department Store in Cashel Street was one of the first to sign up to the pilot programme. Food Services Manager Perri Saunderson says it's early days, but that he's hoping to see a good impact for the coeliac sufferers of Christchurch.
"We're finalising our training and accreditation and will be ready to launch the 'Dining Out Programme' in the next couple of weeks," he says. "Ballantynes prides itself on providing exceptional customer service, which is why we are delighted to be able to offer our customers with gluten intolerance the opportunity to eat at any of our three cafes with complete confidence," says Saunderson.
Carl Sunderland, General Manager of Coeliac New Zealand, says that restaurants and cafés that sign up to the programme will be able to provide an extra assurance that the gluten-free options on the menu really are gluten-free.
"The 'Dining Out Programme' means that eateries offering gluten-free selections will be able to substantiate their claims. For true coeliacs, this is critical to differentiating between somewhere that only offers trendy 'gluten-free' options, and somewhere that's actually safe for them to eat," he says.
"We're delighted with how the pilot has gone and all five businesses  that signed up have since passed an independent audit which means they are now fully accredited to serve safe, gluten-free food.
"My Food Bag has also come on board and we're hoping to have another 20 - 30 signed up by Christmas," he says.
Sunderland wants coeliacs, as well as their friends and family, to take this message to their favourite local eateries and urge them to sign up.
"Our community of followers has been adamant that this is the one thing that would make a huge difference to their lives, and we've listened. Now we need their help to get local restaurants excited about joining the line-up," he says.
The 'Dining Out Programme' just won Fine Food New Zealand's Innovation Award for 'Most Innovative Food Service Product', and puts New Zealand on the map in terms of catering to the needs of international gluten-free tourists.
Give us a call, send us a message or call in and see us. We’d love to hear from you.